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One thousand volunteers commended on International Volunteer Day (with photos)

     The wife of the Chief Executive and Volunteer-in-Chief, Mrs Regina Leung, today (December 5) expressed her heartfelt gratitude to volunteers for their selfless devotion to serve society's needy groups and commended them for their dedication to volunteerism, which helps to boost positive energy in Hong Kong and enhance social inclusion and harmony.

     Addressing some 1 000 participants at the 2015 Hong Kong Volunteer Award Presentation Ceremony organised by the Social Welfare Department (SWD), Mrs Leung said, "The Volunteer Movement has taken root in the community since its launch in 1998 and has become part of our everyday life. We are proud that with concerted efforts from various sectors, the number of registered volunteers in Hong Kong has exceeded 1.25 million and voluntary work has become more and more innovative in both format and content. Today's award presentation ceremony is especially meaningful to all of us since it is being held on International Volunteer Day."

     Mrs Leung encouraged volunteers to continue to uphold the spirit of "Volunteering - New Experience in Life", which is the new theme of the Volunteer Movement, and to instil the spirit into their daily life by showing love and care for people in need. Volunteers can also extend the momentum to the community by encouraging people to make good deeds and help one another.

     The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah, said at the event that the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) has been promoting voluntary work through co-operation with various government departments and voluntary organisations. The Bureau also encourages active participation in voluntary work among members of the public, in particular the youth.

     The HAB has launched different volunteer service programmes for young people, including the Service Corps Programme, the Hong Kong-United Nations Youth Volunteers Programme and a summer camp under the Guangdong-Hong Kong Youth Volunteer Service Programme. These programmes provide young people with opportunities to render assistance to the underprivileged in places outside Hong Kong such as the Mainland and Southeast Asia. Through these programmes, it is hoped that the caring spirit of the young people will be boosted while their interpersonal skills will be improved and horizons broadened.

     Speaking at the same occasion, the Director of Social Welfare, Ms Carol Yip, said that looking ahead, with "Volunteering - New Experience in Life" as its new theme and direction, the Volunteer Movement would focus on promoting the transformation of volunteerism from "attitude" to "action" and the joint participation of volunteers and service recipients, as both parties would benefit in their personal development through the process of give and take. She called on people from all walks of life to join the volunteer league and integrate volunteer service into family life and corporate culture, moving together toward the goal of "Everyone joining volunteering".

     Ms Yip thanked the Steering Committee on Promotion of Volunteer Service of the SWD, its four Sub-committees on Promotion, the 11 District Co-ordinating Committees, District Social Welfare Officers and all committee members for their commitment and active participation in giving their invaluable views in mapping out the direction and strategy of the Volunteer Movement, thus enabling volunteerism to move forward with depth and diversity.

     Organised by the Steering Committee on Promotion of Volunteer Service, today's ceremony aimed to further promote volunteerism by paying tribute to volunteers, enhance people's understanding of voluntary services, and promote a sense of caring and mutual help in the community.

     Awards were presented to volunteers from various sectors for their outstanding contributions in the previous year. They included 127 volunteers who have served the community for more than 20 years, of whom some have served for over 50, 40 and 30 years, and 38 volunteer organisations from public and private sectors with the highest number of service hours.

     Also officiating at today's ceremony were the Convenor of the Sub-committee on Promotion and Publicity of Volunteer Service, Mr Lai Chi-tong; the Convenor of the Sub-committee on Promotion of Corporate Volunteering, Mr Kwan Chuk-fai; the Convenor of the Sub-committee on Promotion of Volunteering in Community Organisations, Mr Quentin Fong; and the Convenor of the Sub-committee on Promotion of Student and Youth Volunteering, Ms Theresa Tao.

     Since the launch of the Volunteer Movement by the SWD in 1998, more than 1.25 million registered volunteers and more than 2 780 participating organisations have committed themselves to volunteer service. In 2014, altogether they devoted more than 22.4 million hours of service to the community.

Ends/Saturday, December 5, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:26


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